The Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game
Jay Bruce's struggles rendered him on the bench against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday (and, in theory at least, out of the starting lineup that never was on Saturday thanks to the rain out), and nobody who had seen him play of late could really question Bryan Price's decision. Well, if Monday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers was any indication, the Cincinnati Reds RF rested away those demons, as he went 1 for 1 with a 2-run dinger, no strikeouts, and a trio of both walks and runs scored. Bruce's streakiness is notorious, but there's also no denying that he usually finds a way to turn up the heat right around the first of May, and perhaps the off-day(s) and his power/patience outing against Milwaukee are just what he needs to be the thumper the Reds' lineup sorely needs.
Honorable Mentions are due to: Brayan Pena, who had a pair of hits (one double) and a pair of walks; Todd Frazier, who reached base four times thanks to three walks and a HBP; Zack Cozart, who tripled and walked; Marlon Byrd, who had a pair of hits, scored twice, and drove in a run; and Jason Marquis, who held the Brewers lineup - albeit one lacking Carlos Gomez, Ryan Braun, Scooter Gennett, and Jonathan Lucroy - to just a pair of runs in his 8 IP.
- Todd Frazier took a leadoff walk from Jimmy Nelson to begin the Bottom of the 3rd, and as those things are wont to do, it haunted. Bruce followed by cranking a 362 moonscraper of a dinger that cleared the wall in RF by a few rows, clearly indicating that Bryan Price's decision to give him a day off let him "find himself" and "think about things" and "clear his head" and "insert cliche for sleep in and not play baseball" worked magnificently. Two batters later, Byrd reached on a slow grounder that got thrown into the dugout to allow him to take 2B, and after Nelson intentionally walked Pena to get to Marquis, the Reds pitcher - not their DH - took that strategery on the chin and smacked an opposite field single to drive in Byrd. Hamilton followed with a single to load the bases, and Zack Cozart chipped in with a walk to drive in Pena. Joey Votto grounded into a double play to end the beating, but whatever. Reds led, 4-0.
- A 1-out walk to Martin Maldonado haunted Marquis in the Top of the 3rd, as the Brewers smallball'd him to 2B with a bunt and Jean Segura's single then scored him. Reds led, 4-1.
- The Reds kept right on letting Nelson yield them the lead in the Bottom of the 3rd, as the Brewers starter's wildness kept their offense afloat. Frazier walked again to leadoff the inning, stole 2B without the ball ever reaching the catcher, and after Bruce walked behind him they both moved up a base on a wild pitch. BP grounded out (drink!), but Frazier then scored on another wild pitch with Byrd at the plate before Byrd's single score Bruce. A Pena single finally chased Nelson, but new pitcher Rob Wooten later threw what was scored a passed ball (yet was clearly a wild pitch) that allowed Byrd to score. Holy awful everything, Brewers. Reds led, 7-1.
- The Top of the 6th saw the Brewers push another run across the plate (for posterity, I assume). Gerardo Parra doubled, and Adam Lind backed him up with a single to RF that drove him in. The Reds, however, took that one right back in the Bottom of the 6th, as Cozart's leadoff triple started the damage. After Frazier walked two batters later (and stole 2B), Bruce plated Cozart with a sac fly, and Brandon Phillips doubled off the wall in LF to drive in Frazier. Reds led, 9-2.
- Bork Hopbaden got the call to pitch for the Reds in the Top of the 9th, and swimmingly it did not go. A leadoff walk to Lind haunted, as did the single that followed from Jason Rogers. Subsequent singles from Aramis Ramirez and Martin Maldonado brought in one run, and once Aroldis Chapman was brought on to clean up Burke's disaster, a Hector Gomez HBP brought in one run and a slappy, odd-hopped single from Segura drove two more. Yeesh. Chapman settled in, however, and K'd Ryan Braun to end the shenanigans. Reds win, 9-6!
- According to former fearless Red Reporter leader Joel Luckhaupt, tonight's game marked just the 8th time since the beginning of the 2014 season where the Reds notched more walks than strikeouts. They walked 9 times while striking out just 5 times on Monday. Let's just call that "The Hanigan."
- Brandon Phillips got an extra base hit! It was the first of his season (breaking an 80+ PA streak dating back to last season), and he was actually robbed of another potential XBH when Logan Schaefer caught a deep fly ball off Phillips' bat earlier in the game. Perhaps he's heating up...?
- Joey Votto went 0 for 5 tonight and failed to reach base, meaning he was the only Reds player who stepped into the box not to. He's in a slump, yes, but he's still hitting over .300 on the season (.306). Small sample sizes are awesome.
- Just before the game began, the Reds announced that they'd placed Homer Bailey on the DL with a right elbow ligament sprain. Oof McGoof. Carlos Contreras was temporarily called up to add to the bullpen depth until Thursday, which is when Homer was next scheduled to start. The Reds will surely call up a starter at that point, though who that is still remains up in the air. My hunch, though, is that it will be Michael Lorenzen, despite the fact that he's not yet on the 40 man roster.